This is the long, long
version written at the request of a supporter!
South East Asia Mission Teams was
in the hearts and minds of Richard and June Bartz from the time
they began preparing for life and work in Indonesia in 1990.
After some years of living and working in a hard place in
obedience to the Lord, they were finally sure it was the Lord
bringing them back to the Philippines in 2000 to start the
During previous visits to the
Philippines some good relationships had been build with pastors
and believers in Cebu, so after prayer five Filipinos were asked
to help the Bartz' incorporate SEAMIST in October, 2000.
Founding Directors were Pastor Robert and Sarah Cuenca,
Pastor Romeo Villarta, Dr. Fred Garcis, Richard and June Bartz,
and Rizza Dalde.
In August, 2001 Richard and June
Bartz moved to the Philippines and started preparing for
training whoever the Lord brought that had a heart to plant
churches among unreached people groups in South East Asia.
The mission and vision of SEAMIST was crystalized into words and
phrases that could be communicated.
The first new trainees came from
the USA, but they were soon joined by Filipinos. In 2002
the first Church Planters Training was held with mostly
Filipinos in attendance. This event helped to focus the
training on church planting. About 16 people from three
2002 also brought the arrival of
Marvin and Jenny Donahue, an older couple with a heart for the
Hani people of Vietnam. We are so proud of the years of
service that the Donahues were able to complete there before
health issues finally took them home to the USA for now.
It was in 2002 that SEAMIST
accepted a woman from Indonesia as one of our workers.
That relationship contiues to foster ministry among two
unreached people groups in Indonesia. Occassional training
trips always bring encouragement and equipping to the SEAMIST
In 2003, Pastor Rodel Cordova and
his wife Edah brought baby Shem to Cebu to join the staff of
SEAMIST. What a blessing they were, and the next five
years of ministry was greatly enhanced by their ministry.
Pastor Rodel oversaw the planting of churches in LapuLapu City,
Borbon, Cebu, and most remarkably, among the Aeta tribal people
of Negros Oriental.
2003 also brought Kenneth Bartz,
son of Richard and June. Initially Kenneth came to visit
and recover from some life issues. With his life back on
track with the Lord, he got involved and soon realized his call
to missions. Since that time he has sacrificed many years
of his life to assist SEAMIST in too many ways to count.
He served as the office administrator, but his work affects
every area of SEAMIST minsitry. Kenneth returned to the
USA in 2012.
SEAMIST became associated with
the International School of Ministry and started presenting the
ISOM video bible course in 2003. Since tha time dozens of
trainees have completed many trimesters of study, and many of
them have received diplomas equivalent to associate degrees.
In 2004 the Donahues arrived in
Vietnam and Grace Villarta became a SEAMIST Director. Two young
women from Mindanao joined SEAMIST, confessing a call to be
church planting missionaries. One of those women, Davelyn
Diola, is still serving faithfully in Thailand planting churches
among the Shan refugees from Myanmar.
In 2005, Johan and Marielle
Andersen from Sweden began training for church planting ministry
among Filipino tribal people. Although young, their zeal
and determination led them to eventually start what has become a
series of churches on Davao Del Norte among the Manobo Ata
people. These indigenous churches have thrived and grown
over the years. The Andersens later began training
ministries in Myanmar and although they live again in Sweden,
they oversee and assist their work in Asia.
2005 also brought staff help from
SEAMIST associate workers Jim and Marilyn Belfiore. They
has been trained some years ago by the Bartz' and came to assist
the young trainees in particular with life issues, discipleship,
and to teach ISOM. They have always been a blessing to
SEAMIST, and continue to bring the good news to many unreached
people in South East Asia.
Another blessing in 2005 was when
Salonga and Sariya Aryana joined SEAMIST with a heart to work
among the Badjao people in the southern parts of the
Philippines. They were trained and eventually assigned to
start a church in Surigao City. They left SEAMIST in 2007 when
their work in Surigao came to an end. Eventually they
returned to Zamboanga City to help in a church there for a time.
Even now they are engaged in work among the Badjao people in
Zamboanga Del Norte and Bohol.
The highlight of 2005 was when
Davelyn Diola departed for Chiang Mai, Thailand to finish her
training and to learn Thai. She was our first Filipino
missionary and she has proven that the Filipinos can do it.
She works full time and fully supported planting churches among
the Shan refugees in Thailand. Amazingly, SEAMIST had
workers in four countries working with five unreached people
groups! Glory to God!
2006 saw the incoming of several
very young and promising Filipinos for long term training.
While most of them eventually realized that they were probably
not yet called or ready to be full time church planters among
unreached people groups, one notable exception was a young man
named Genesis Precioso. As time has progressed, he has
proven his faithfulness and call, and he and his wife Maria work
now to start churches among the Manamwa people of Mindanao.
Several of these young people
worked together as a team and started a Cebuano church in the
town of Borbon for "practice". Following SEAMIST basic
guidelines they were able to gather more than 100 converts into
a community of believers in only six months. This
"experiment" in church planting demonstrated the wisdom of
focusing on adults, home bible studies, and simple church
In 2007, the SEAMIST Training
Center was moved into a building that was rebuilt by the staff.
About 1000 sq ft of office was created in a shed style building
in Gun-ob, Lapulapu City. The new facility made it
possible to have training and meetings with up to 50 people as
well as office space for staff.
Early in 2007, Roger and Hazel
Villacorta left for Thailand for several months of ministry, but
lack of support and adjustment issues brought them back home
before the end of the year. Support issues began to become
a major issue with sending Asians.
In August 2007, WIM missionaries
David and Polly Wineinger arrived for training and staff work.
They brought years of experience in the mininstry, and have
served faithfully and with great success on the staff and board
In November, 2007, the first Church
Planters Academy (CPA) was held, with the special feature of an
exposure trip to a tribal area. Part of the preparation
for that event brought Pastor Rodel into contact with Datu
Rostum Bornea, the chief of the Aeta tribe in Mabinay, Negros
Oriental. It was hoped that the CPA trainees could spend a
few days in a tribal environment. During the second
meeting Pastor Rodel began telling Bible Stories, and within a
few months, there were dozens of new believers and a church was
By the end of the year there were
three appointed Aeta elders, more than 20 men and women were in
elder training, and there were three churches meeting regularly,
all led by Aeta workers. This 100% indigenous work
continues today with many more churches and leaders. The
transformation of the villages has been dramatic, and the change
in status and propserity of the Aeta tribe in this area has been
2008 saw some of the young
workers leave, but others arrived. A Chilean woman also
arrived for training with hopes of going on to work among a very
difficult to reach people. Terry and Pat Hamilton began
their two year training, Dick and Hope Omaguing were accepted
for training for the Shan work in Thailand, and others joined in
hopes of getting to the mission field some day.
In June of 2008, Nigerians Kanayo
and Ngozi Uchime arrived with their children to begin training
for church planting work in the Philippines. Eventually
this family felt the call of God to plant churches among the
Badjao, and are engaged with the Badjao tribals in the area of
Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental.
In July of 2008, Pastor Rodel
Cordova died of cancer at only 32 years of age. His death
was a huge blow to SEAMIST. He was loved and will always
be missed. He left his mark not only among the Aeta people
whom he loved, but in churches he planted through the years and
on SEAMIST, an organization he served because he believed in
what we do.
Late in 2008 Eliezer and Ginalyn
Capablanca joined the SEAMIST staff to help with training and to
assist with the Aeta work. Eliezer has proven to be a
loyal and faithful worker. His training was completed and
Eliezer continues to provide ministry to the Aeta and assist in
the SEAMIST office as well as personally helping alongside Dave
and Polly Wineinger.
In 2009, Genesis Precioso
came back to SEAMIST to assist Terry and Pat Hamilton in a hoped for church
plant among the Bukidnon and Ati people in the area of Mount
Canlaon, Negros Oriental. Although there was no church
planted, Genesis and his wife Maria went on to do church
planting mong the Mamanwa people in Jabungga, Surigao Del Norte.
2009 was the year that Pol
Rondina became a director, "J" went to Vietnam and Edah Cordova
and her boys went to Thailand, followed very soon after by Dick
and Hope Omaguing. They left to join Edah and Davelyn
Diola in hopes of finding a place of ministry among the Shan.
Although the Omaguings were very courageous and willing to live
by faith, there was much concern about whether they would be
able to stay in Thailand because of low support issues.
2009 also saw good training
times, most notably with 4 Nigerian men who had come to the
Philippines with another organization. These men and women
hoped to move on to China, but circumstances beyond their
control kept them here. We gladly invested in them, and at
least two of them continued in the Philippines doing pioneer and
The Hamiltons finished their
training in 2010 but were unable to return to the Philippines
for further ministry. The Wineingers finished their first
three year term and enjoyed some months of rest in the USA late
in 2010. They took oversight of the
Aeta work and have enjoyed much fruitfulness there.
2010 was a difficult year that
also saw the Omaguings have to leave SEAMIST over support issues
and Edah Cordova returning after one year on the mission
field. These losses were costly to SEAMIST and difficult
to understand. Still, by years end it was apparent that
the Lord was just pruning the branches in preparations for the
future. SEAMIST board and staff were encouraged by the
continued success of the Aeta work, the great results of medical
missions works in Cambodia, the strong comeback of the
Indonesian team ministries, and by the training of new people,
most especially Ken and Ginalyn Pabalinas.
2011--- to be added, God willing.